The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
By Amy E. Reichert
Narrated by C.S.E Cooney
Publication date Jul 21, 2015 | Running time 8 hrs
Also available as Trade Paperback & eBook from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books |
336 pages | July 2015
Audio Book provided by Tantor Audio for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own unless otherwise noted.
In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé . . . until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.
Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know that he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.
The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, Lou and Al cross paths in a pub. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee, and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love . . . but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?
They “had me” at Coconut Cake.
There’s a story there having to do with the last piece of cake I didn’t have on my birthday just before my celiac diagnosis. It was a coconut frosted cake with a fruit filling at a bakery in a small town we were tooling about in on my birthday and I did not want to buy the whole cake so I did not get any. A week later I got my numbers and it was a while before I had anything at all similar.
So, what a coincidence, eh?
Coconut cake and a birthday is the recipe around which this tale revolves. For the woman making the cake, it is an act of tradition and love, as is all cooking. For her fiance it is a valuable thing in that he is looking for the woman at home, in the kitchen, barefoot and taking care of a family. Yes, this stems from his childhood, but there’s no denying that this fellow is an asshat who feels Lou’s profession is not highbrow enough.
When this character makes a person this coconut cake she is giving that person her heart, her tradition, letting them into her past and those influences in her life she treasures.
She attracts a collection of loyal friends, and has to learn to forgive — after all, we do hear that love “forgives all things,” right? Well, of course we hear that but I think it would be pretty hard to continue in a relationship where you learn someone ruined your livelihood it would be an act of truly deep love to overcome that.
This is the second foody book centered on Wisconsin. I am going to have to go there someday. It is actually quite an homage to the area, its people, festivals and food.
On the side of things I didn’t especially like, there is an elderly couple who had been in the US since before WWII. The constant use of the word “liebchen” was a bit overdone. It’s nice that the author gave us a couple with the influence of one of the ethnic groups important regionally, but the endearments and the accent in the audio bugged me – I get it — they were born in Germany and represent the old-world influence on Wisconsin, the neighborliness, the friends as family and all those good feels.
This is a pretty clean book. It takes a long time to get to the bedroom and then it mostly happens off the page. There’s no swearing either. I am a fan of more erotic books, but a sweet romance is nice once in a while. There’s no overt religiosity.
Other than the Teutonic accent I liked the audio’s narrator. The acting was not overdone, the voice was nicely balanced.
Good choice for something you could enjoy and then pass on to a friend without blushing.